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Living On Lockdown In An Ohio Women's Prison

Women's Voices dayton correctional institution
Juliet Fromholt

Melody Williams is serving life without parole. Because of the severity of her crime she was sent to a supermax/maximum security facility, and spent the first year and a half of her sentence in lock-down.

In this audio story, Melody talks to fellow Dayton Correctional Institution resident Shannon Evans about coming to prison and how she coped with being locked up for 21 hours a day.

Highlights from the audio:

“I remember going into the security housing unit and they assigned me and another young lady who was half my age, she was 25...and they told us to go in there, and we went in, and they closed the door and they told us we would not come back out until the next day.”

“I gained 50 pounds sitting on the side of the bed. Our only guilty pleasure was food. So we ate.”

“I wanted to go outside. They have a big walk/jog and you can see it from your cell when you’re locked down. My dream was to be able to walk that walk/jog in the sunshine.”

Women’s Voices from Dayton Correctional Institution is a series of stories based on WYSO’s Community Voices class at the prison on the west side. WYSO selected 10 incarcerated women through a competitive application process, and taught them interviewing, storytelling and recording skills. The series is produced and mixed by managing editor Lewis Wallace and Community Voices producer Renee Wilde, with volunteer support from Community Voices graduate Dr. Venita Kelley and editorial input from general manager Neenah Ellis.


Renee Wilde tumbled into public radio - following a career path that has been full of creative adventures and community service. After graduating from the Ohio State University with a fine arts degree in photography - she served as the Exhibitions Coordinator for several Columbus art galleries and the Columbus Art League, while simultaneously slinging food and booze - memorably dropping a glass of orange juice on Johnny Rotten’s bare feet when he answered the hotel room door in just his skivvies (his response, “would shit be the appropriate word?”).